Successful Failures?

Dear reader,

Yesterday was my first visit to the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) event at the RSA house in the heart of the City of London. Which is a shame really, since I’ve been here on/off for about 3 months already.

Not being used to professional networking and code of behaviour or conduct, but always open for new possibilities, relationships and opportunities, I had mixed feelings of excitement and some nervousness as well. However, being someone that is hardly present and certainly not known, I thought nobody would notice my presence or be interested in what I do or who I am. And that gave me the courage to let go of the nervousness and leave space for curiosity only.

I couldn’t be more wrong. I guess the difference between Slovenian and the UK working culture is not only in the way how we approach and adopt new ideas, but also in the way how we connect and relate to other people, especially how we establish new relationships. Just for a short illustration (and please bear in mind that this is my experience only and is not necessarily a ‘general truth’): when I was younger and had volunteered for the faculty where I studied, I often had experiences such as when proposing new ideas, I would get five arguments and ways why this idea wouldn’t work out and a list of at least five things what could go wrong on the way. I thought this is the way things are done, so adjusted myself in order to be able to function in such an environment. While when I first moved to England, about three years ago, I had a different experience. When I did pluck up my courage to finally dare to propose something, I got a response which surprised me so much, that I think this was one of the first reasons why I fell in love with this country in the first place. I would immediately get at least five ways of suggestions what else I might do, as well as be offered support and useful contacts of people that might be of help. This was accompanied by an attitude of genuine interest and respect. Not something I was used to very much.

So I would let go of my old beliefs and start behaving, working in and seeking for the environment where my ideas were supported. My life changed since then (have a look at the older blog posts if interested how).

The same experience I had three years ago, happened yesterday. I was so wrong for thinking I would not be noticed. At the very beginning, the lady who was hosting the eveng announced this meeting is a special meeting as there are two Fellows from the overseas. And I was so blushing while raising my hand to show who I was yet still I thought people wouldn’t really notice. Wrong again. In the gaps between different project pitches where we were mingling, I couldn’t even get to the second glass of wine as so many people approached and expressed interest. So I met some wonderful skilled, talented and dedicated people and thanks to A., I was introduced to many other Fellows with whom we will possibly work on making the positive difference in our society.

The point of this post was that it is NOT normal or natural to be working in so called ‘problem focused’ environments. Failure is no shame and absolutely not a setback. It is a lesson, learning and a sign of moving. And new ideas should be encouraged, even though we might encounter trouble on the go (which great ideas don’t???) and even though there will probably be moderate or high risks.

In the RSA meeting there was a terrific pitch about failure, as a precondition of a big success. And in order to make that possible, we need successful failures. We of course might not recognize them as such at that moment, however looking back, we might actually be proud and happy to have failed at something, because that opened doors to something else. Something spectacular, possibly

I know I’ve had many failures. Now I also know that many of them have been quite successful failures!



For the SuccessfulFailure project visit Twitter @TSFIntervierws

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Dear reader,

do you agree with todays title? Ever tried your best, gave it all and sacrificed your time, money, even health perhaps and then got nothing in return? Or even worse, got bad attitude, mocking or even harmful words or actions? Me too.

It has happened 1935720962086723 times to me that I thought I was doing something for the good of others and then others responded rude. So many times others asked for help, got the best possible treat and then didn’t even bother to say thank you. So many times they wanted to receive, receive, receive and gave less than nothing in return. Sort of energy suckers, trying to squeeze every last bit of your competency and then drop you out like used condom.

What to do with people, whom you give diamonds and they treat them like pigs would? Nothing. It’s actually your attitude you have to change. It’s your merit if you offer pigs diamonds. Don’t be surprised if they don’t know how to appreciate them.

It is understandable that you try to give yourself to the world. And I wish there were more people like that. Sadly, the nice guys are always the last. You may find some comfort in the proverb that karma’s a bitch only to those who behave like a bitch. But that doesn’t help a lot when you are really hurt, does it. So think about – what is it that hurts you? The fact that you cannot please everybody? The rudeness? Feeling of abandonment? Or is there perhaps some truth in their words? I don’t care much about US politics, but one of them once said a beautiful thing:

“Take criticism seriously, but not personally. If there is truth or merit in the criticism, try to learn from it. Otherwise, let it roll right off you.” (H. R. Clinton)

If someone criticises you for a reason, figure out what you can do about it. But if the information is delivered with lots of emotion and rage, then you need to protect yourself. You don’t deserve this. When you let other’s treat you like crap, there is something in your behaviour that allows them to do so. Observe and examine what it is. Then turn away if you can. Fighting evil people and idiots is useless, because they’ll beat you as you are an amateur in their field.

What can you do instead? Continue, keep going. When you work hard, have faith in what you do and love your work, there will be good results. Very few things can piss the evil tongues off more, than your success. But that’s not your concern. Your growth and development are. Spend your energy and time on people who are worth it. And still listen to those, who aren’t. They have a message for you too. Put it in a non-personal envelope.


You can change people: a Word about the Quiet December

Dear reader,

The end of the year is fast approaching. Don’t know whether you’re into celebrating, presents or any of that, anyhow it is a special time of the year. For me all the rush and presents excitement, the Christmas tree and lights is somehow secondary. It’s nice, but a bit too commercial for my taste. This year, we decided we’re excluding all gifts that come in material shape. We will give each other memories, so a gift should be something that a receiver will keep as a memory of a together-spent adventure (we’ll definitely save on gift paper :))

My December is usually a month of quiet, stillness, a month of reflection about the past ups and downs, lefts and rights, etc. This year has been a breaking point in my life. It has changed me and everyone around me, changed forever. The thing is, a situation, whatever it is, doesn’t simply happen to you – your reaction causes what you experience as happening. Therefore, you can change every situation, you can even change people. Your world can change instantly and you don’t have to do much to make that happen! And more good news – you alone can make it happen and have all the utilities and capabilities to do so. The very next minute you can begin to experience a brand new changed world.

Yesterday I’ve seen a new client, who is at the beginning of her independent career path. She chose to start her own firm and was a bit unsure about whether she could make it and the direction she should be headed towards. Usually, I don’t ask about the past, but here something, some strange curiosity drove me towards asking questions about her past work until the present moment. At the end of a session she said she didn’t know and hasn’t been realising she’s walked all that much already as she thought she was standing still and doing nothing. But now she actually realises how much she has accomplished already and if she’s come that far, she should be okay to proceed. And be successful in whatever path she chooses to go.

It’s almost a year since I left for my study visit to England that changed my life. This year, I’ve travelled and seen half a world literally, have learned so fast and so much about Solution Focused Brief Therapy and was able to make let’s say a 5 year path in only one with much published scientific work and contributions in international conferences. With pleasure and passion. And I wasn’t looking for opportunities, wasn’t looking for anything big. It just happened, naturally. I wasn’t waiting for my “big moment” to come, I created it by acting and reacting to what came across. And now looking back, I’m so happy I did, even though I was really scared, confused, had so many doubts and was afraid I wouldn’t make it. I’m really grateful I didn’t hide and made an excuse.

People around me changed. By noticing changes I’ve been going through, some people were curious and wanted to know more. Some were not. Some left my life, some stayed. Since working a lot and going through a process of intensive learning necessarily means sacrificing your time you used to spend on other things like having coffee, I started to pick my company really carefully. Because I value my time and I started to value my experiences too, so I don’t share it with people who don’t care about it. As a result, I managed to say goodbye to people that had negative impact on me and I’ve gained more respect from people, especially people that used to take me and my time for granted. As soon as I started to value myself more, they started to reflect that attitude back. I’m now attracting what I’m radiating. And it has always been like that, just I didn’t know and see it till now.

Don’t believe me? You can try it yourself. Such an experiment may be that you say no to someone if you don’t feel like doing something they want you to do. It’s very hard. Not to say that to them, but to say that to you. Very hard indeed. But with each attempt you’ll get better, I guarantee you that. Maybe as you see that it’s actually a relationship you have with yourself, that could make it a bit easier, because you’re probably not afraid of yourself so much as you are afraid of what the others might think of you. Well, whatever it is that they think of you, tells not so much about you, but a lot about them. That’s what I have written in the description of my Facebook profile picture and I’m sharing this one with you today. I’m giving myself to you, because I want to. Without makeup 🙂 So if you are being treated poorly, that is probably a sign of the other person’s bad attitude. Even if you please them, that attitude is not going to change. So why not doing yourself a favour by saying yes to YOU?

Wish you a lovely December. Spend it the way you like most. And thank you for being an important part of my reflection.


Dear friend/acquaintance/visitor. You may love me, hate me or neither. Whatever it is, it says a lot more about you than it does about me. Feel welcomed.

Good life is not just the absence of negative things

Dear reader,

I promised  you to say something about how come we are sometimes better “trained” to respond to negative than to positive feedback. Also, I promised you to introduce a possible way to unlearn old patterns and invite new ones come in.

Back in 2000, my ballet teacher told the class at the beginning of our ballet course that he follows two rules in providing feedback about our performance:

1. what we do right and well, is normal and how it should be done. Therefore he will not say it.

2. what we don’t do right, he’ll emphasize and correct so that we could improve.

After four years of training we felt like we couldn’t do anything right. Out of 18 students in the first year, only myself and another girl have completed the studies in due time. We didn’t celebrate it.

If you do receive a lot of criticism and negative feedback, you are very likely to be doing something really important and perhaps something meaningful, that only a few are willing to try. If you are coping with criticism and can handle it more or less one way or another, you have probably developed a very precious skill: resilience. Further, you might be expressing great courage if you keep going inspite of the criticism. I think this deserves a deep bow. It also demonstrates you are a fighter and survivor.

However, life is much more than that. I bet sometimes you get positive feedback as well. What do you do with it? Do you even notice it? Do you celebrate it or do you accredit less importance to it than to the negative feedback? Maybe because positive feedback is ok, but negative should be considered more seriously, so that you can improve? Close resemblance to my teacher?

Here’s an exercise: try to remember the last compliment, a positive feedback or comment you’ve received about your work. What abilities and skills did you have to demonstrate in order to receive this compliment? What did the compliment giver see in you that she/he decided to delivier it to you the way they did? Why do you think they considered bothering making a compliment or a positive feedback to you? They could do otherwise, but they didn’t. And I guess they were not forced into making this compliment, so they probably gave it freely and out of their own intention.

Going one step further: how did you respond to the feedback? Were you able to take it seriously and accept it? How did you express that? How did receiving the compliment feel inside? What might the other person who gave you the feedback notice about you as you responded? And how did they respond back?

Sometimes we might think that it is good enough not to receive negative feedback and criticism. However life is much more than just the absence of negative. Good feedback is not just the absence of negative feedback. Good feedback is about appreciation, respect, gratitude, kindness, good handshake, a shoulder to lean on, a supportive company, good health, smiling, to be loved and to be able to love. It may feel like a lot. But you deserve this. All of this. And not just sometimes. You deserve it regularly, just as much as you deserve to breathe clean air.

To conclude, here is some experiment you might want to try: you might be waiting for your next compliment and embrace it fully. And how about while waiting, you make a genuine compliment to someone? How about you use the next opportunity you meet someone that is important to you and tell them something about them that you appreciate? Try and observe the difference you will make.

As William Makepeace Thackeray said:

Never loose a chance to say a kind word.

2013-09-26 14.03.56